May 2024

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

It is always a pleasure to be on campus to celebrate Commencement. As a Puget Sound alumna, I take such pride in seeing our graduates cross the stage and watching friends and family cheering them on from the stands. It takes me back to my graduation at Puget Sound and reminds me that no matter how much things change, we are all connected by this place—once a Logger, always a Logger. Congratulations, Classes of 2024, and welcome to the alumni community!

This time of celebration comes at a particularly difficult moment as tensions surrounding student protests and encampments on college campuses across the country have increased. The Board of Trustees affirms the right of students to engage in free speech and protest and we appreciate that protesters were respectful of our graduating students this weekend so that we could provide a safe and successful event for our graduates and all those who were present to celebrate them.

In addition to attending this year’s Commencement festivities, the board also had the chance to meet with our dedicated faculty and staff to learn more about the important work being done to support our students. As we close out an eventful academic year, I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation for the members of our campus community who do so much to care for our students and ensure their success at Puget Sound and beyond. Thank you for all that you do.

Below are some highlights of our May meetings:

Puget Sound Museum of Natural History. Trustees enjoyed the chance to tour this incredible campus resource, which houses more than 100,000 bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian, plant, insect, fossil, and geological specimens and learn how the museum is providing opportunities to engage with our region’s diverse natural history.

Campus Tours. It is always enlightening to see our beautiful campus through the eyes of students. The trustees appreciated the chance to go on a guided tour of campus led by some outstanding current students, seeing how our physical space continues to evolve to serve the needs of today’s Loggers.

Senior Art Show. The trustees also had the chance to visit Kittredge Gallery to view installations created by our graduating art students. As always, we were astounded by the talent and creativity on display.

Workshop, Committee Meetings, and Business Meeting. Trustees spent time last week in workshops, committee meetings, and the open session business meeting to continue to advance the institutional and strategic priorities of the university. In our workshop, we learned about Puget Sound’s marketing and communications strategy, which is helping to raise the profile of the university and further position us among the leading liberal arts institutions in the nation.

At its business meeting, the board met and took action on several key items arising from committee discussions, including:

  • 2024-25 budget. The board approved the final budget for the coming year on the recommendation of President Crawford. We are grateful to the president and the Budget Task Force for crafting a budget that advances our Leadership for Changing World strategic plan and meets our fiscal goals laid out in A Sound Future: Response, Recovery and Renewal.
  • Faculty tenure and promotions. In closed session, the board was pleased to approve tenure and/or promotion recommendations for the following exceptional faculty members:
    • Tenure and Promotion to Professor
      • Tanya Erzen, Department of Religion, Spirituality, and Society
      • Renee Watling, School of Occupational Therapy
    • Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor
      • Kirsten Coffman, Department of Exercise Science
      • Samuel Kigar, Department of Religion, Spirituality, and Society
      • Heidi Morton ’93, M.Ed.’97, School of Education
    • Promotion to Professor
      • Luc Boisvert, Department of Chemistry
      • Jung Kim, Department of Exercise Science
    • Promotion to Associate Professor
      • Yu Luo, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
  • KNOW requirement. The board also reviewed and approved proposed changes to the Knowledge, Identity, & Power (KNOW) requirement as part of the revamped core curriculum. We appreciate all the good work by our faculty to update the core in such a meaningful way.
  • ASUPS constitution and bylaws. The board reviewed and approved amendments to the Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound (ASUPS) constitution and bylaws focused primarily on realigning oversight of student clubs and organizations.
  • Annual review and approval of roles and responsibilities. As part of its regular May meeting, the board undertook the review and approval of roles and responsibilities for its committees.
  • Recognizing departing ex-officio members. We had the opportunity to thank our departing ex-officio members for their service and partnership with the board:
    • Elise Richman, Faculty Senate chair
    • Kevin Kirner, Staff Senate chair
    • Ted Meriam ’05, president of the Alumni Council
  • Elections. The board also elected trustee and non-trustee officers for the upcoming year, and elected a new class of incoming trustees who will join the board on July 1.

We are pleased to welcome the following newly elected trustee:

  • Michael Amend ’86

We are also pleased to welcome back returning trustees William M. Canfield ’76, P’08, Fred W. Grimm ’78, Laura Inveen ’76, and Erin Shagren ’88, P’17 as part of this new class, as well as re-electing the following trustees to the class of 2027:

Second Term

  • Brian Gross ’98
  • Karen Jenkins-Johnson ’82
  • Lyle Quasim ’70, Hon. ’05

Third Term

  • Shelly J. Heier ’98
  • Sunshine A. Morrison ’94

At this meeting, trustees Sumner P. Erdman ’87 and Jeremy L. Korst ’97 both were elected as trustees emeriti. We are deeply grateful for their contributions and years of service to the university. The board also recognized the longstanding and excellent service of immediate past chair Robert C. Pohlad P’07 and William T. Weyerhaeuser, who both will return to trustee emeritus status, and thanked them for their significant and lasting contributions to the university.  Trustee Pohlad has served the university for 19 years total, and Trustee Weyerhaeuser has served the university as trustee and volunteer for a remarkable 46 years.

Thank you all for another incredible year and for being a part of our campus community. You can learn more about the Board of Trustees and our work on our website. We look forward to returning to campus this fall for our October meetings and to celebrate Homecoming Weekend.


Beth M. Picardo ’83, J.D. ’86
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

Last week trustees were on campus for three days of fall meetings, and immersed themselves in the important work happening at Puget Sound. As I finish my first meeting as board chair, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to serve the university in this capacity. I am honored to step into this role and eager to share our recent experiences with you.

Our time on campus has left us inspired and enthusiastic about the remarkable projects and initiatives in progress. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I offer the following overview of our activities during our visit.

Welcome to New and Returning Trustees. The board is enriched each year by the generosity, expertise, and perspectives of new members. This fall we are happy to welcome returning trustee Bruce Titcomb ’80, P’13, and Nicholas Vasilius ’07; and the following new trustees:

  • Maria Arellano ’86
  • Ryan Dumm ’07
  • Betsy Campbell Stone ’79, P’14

More information about the Board of Trustees and our work in support of Puget Sound can be found on our website.

Campus Engagement. Trustees always appreciate the opportunity to meet informally with members of the campus community throughout our visit and experience the vibrant campus environment.

  • Experiential Learning Showcase. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing from students about their internships, summer research experiences, study abroad trips, and community-based learning experiences and the ways these experiential learning opportunities helped them apply their classroom learning in hands-on environments and find and further their professional and personal interests. Many trustees considered this session a true highlight of the meetings and were impressed by the passion, dedication, and intellectual curiosity of the students in pursuing their interests.
  • Reception and Breakfast. Trustees also enjoyed their one-on-one interactions with the experiential learning student presenters, experiential learning staff, faculty, staff and student members of our policy committees, and recently tenured and promoted faculty during the Thursday evening reception at the Wilson Welcome Center as well as conversations with members of the Faculty and Staff Senate at the Friday morning breakfast. These opportunities to foster meaningful connections and gain deeper insights into the heart of Puget Sound are another highlight of our meetings.
  • Joint JSU-MENA Statement on the Israel-Hamas War. While on campus, trustees read the recent joint statement from the Jewish Student Union and Middle Eastern North African Student Association on the Israel-Hamas War that was published in The Trail. We were heartened by the unity in the message and its embodiment of our core values of self-expression, collegiality, courage, passion, diversity, and leadership as part of a liberal arts education and applaud our students for working together across differences in this way. It is also a reminder, that while it may seem distant, the impact of such events reaches far and wide, even into our own community.

Retreat. We participated in a half-day retreat focused on building a shared understanding of how trustees can best support the university within an evolving landscape for higher education, and also spent time deepening our understanding of the Student Success Plan, and how we can best engage in supporting this work, and acting as volunteers and ambassadors for Puget Sound. We appreciate the Plan’s emphasis on collaboration, first year experience, faculty engagement, staffing alignment, metrics and data analysis, and technology to assure we can provide the best experience for our students.

Workshop. In light of the growth of generative artificial intelligence (AI), trustees, ex officios, and members of the President’s Cabinet benefited from a workshop focused on “Opportunities and Challenges of Generative AI in Higher Education”, led by Provost Drew Kerkhoff. The workshop featured presentations by Sara Vaezy, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Digital Officer for Providence, one of the largest health systems in the nation, and a panel of fantastic Puget Sound faculty and administrators: Gareth Barkin, America Chambers, Kevin Kirner, Justin Tiehen, and Ariela Tubert. Through their presentations and Q&A, we explored topics such as:

  • How generative AI can support the work of complex organizations, including higher education;
  • Emerging opportunities, threats, and challenges regarding the use of generative AI;
  • Considerations for an institutional AI strategy, and its intersection with governance, guardrails, and technology needed for responsible AI use; and
  • How our faculty and academic technologists are preparing students to use their “actual intelligence” to harness and successfully utilize artificial intelligence.

Business Meeting. In advance of the meeting, we read reports submitted by President Crawford and ex officio representatives, including Faculty Senate Chair Elise Richman, ASUPS President Chloe Pargmann ’24, Staff Senate Chair Kevin Kirner, and Alumni Council President Ted Meriam ’05 who were in attendance at the business meeting. The trustees greatly value hearing directly from students, faculty, staff, and alumni about their work and their perspectives on issues facing the university and board.

Highlights of the business meeting include:

  • Master Plan presentation. Trustees heard an exciting presentation on the progress of the Master Plan.
  • Budget Parameters. Trustees approved the parameters for the 2024–25 fiscal year budget, covering tuition and fees, our first-time-in-college (FTIC) enrollment goal and discounts, and endowment expenditures.
  • Total Compensation and Benefits Project. Trustees received an update on the Total Compensation and Benefits project.
  • Endowment Report. Trustees received an update on our endowment investment fund. Since Agility was hired as Outsourced Chief Investment Officer in late 2013, the annualized return has outperformed the benchmark with lower volatility.
  • Puget Sound Fund. The trustees affirmed goals for participation in and contributions to the university’s annual fund for the current fiscal year, including goals for trustee giving and renewal of our ongoing commitment to 100 percent participation.
  • Unified Interpretation of the Faculty Code. Trustees and members of the Professional Standards Committee have worked together to reach a unified interpretation of the Faculty Code regarding consultation in the context of program discontinuation, and continue to work together on developing a second unified interpretation related to the basis for program discontinuations.

As always, we are impressed by all the remarkable individuals who make Puget Sound so extraordinary. The dedication, talent, and energy of our faculty, staff, and students are the driving force behind the university's excellence. Your contributions have been instrumental in shaping our institution's future. We are truly grateful and proud, and we look forward to seeing you again in February.

Warm regards,

Beth M. Picardo ’83, J.D. ’86
Chair of the Board of Trustees